Reader columnist, Rebecca, 31, a Business Analyst from Brighton, is faced with a decision about signing up for her first pension.
It was a Wednesday morning in January – January being, officially, the most depressing month of the year. It was one of those days in the office where the hours drag in despondent silence, broke only by the occasional whisper or ringing phone. People were twitchy – New Year resolutions fading fast in the grey drizzle of back to work reality.
I was two months into a new job and had decided from week one to get the ball rolling with my first pension. On my desk was a rather meaty looking welcome pack. I made a cup of tea and settled myself down to half an hour of pension administration. This was, after all, security for my future. But less than one minute into my orderly affairs, I spotted something slightly horrifying…
Pension due date – 2045.
The next 34 years flashed before my eyes – all mapped out in the same office, with the same bad posture, and the same foil wrapped lunch. I opened my desk drawer and slipped the offending article inside, out of sight.
At lunch, I took myself off to a coffee shop to think about my situation over a latte and chocolate brownie…
…I have a plan. A life plan, I suppose you could call it – a mix of realistic goals, healthy challenges and hopeful dreams. Set a date for our wedding. Finish distance-learning course – a possible change of career at the end of it. Buy our first flat – savings growing slowly but surely. So why did that date unnerve me so much? 2045. Somehow futuristic like another time entirely. I even did the ‘my life over again, plus four’ thing.
But I knew it wasn’t so very far away. Not so much where I could afford complacency. ‘Live for the moment’ – advice we often hear from grandparents or the ill of health. Sound advice it would therefore seem. But if we do live forever in the moment, then surely life is just a continuous moment, in which the notion of past and future are void. So what then, does the future matter? And the word pension doesn’t exactly incite enthusiasm for later life when all I think of is a watery-eyed old man collecting his pension, fumbling with his pennies in a leather purse.
The next 34 years flashed before my eyes – all mapped out in the same office, with the same bad posture, and the same foil wrapped lunch.
But I appreciate, in the day and age we live in, 65 is no longer considered old. ‘You are only as old as you feel’ could not be truer. The image of me with grey hair and more lines and less playful fashions does not especially concern me. I plan on growing old with grace and style.
No, it wasn’t a vanity thing. It was the idea that, come 2045, all the currently unknown in my life would be revealed. Children. Grandchildren. The flat bought, sold, upgraded to a small house out of town. A photo on the wall of two fresh-faced thirty something’s on their wedding day. At the moment, all just guess work. In 2045, the ‘big stuff’ decided. It was overwhelming to picture my life so moved on. A beautiful picture in so many ways, but also the product of so much yet to achieve.
But even if I do embrace the moment, the future is simply a moment not yet happened. I can't ignore it. And why would I? The future is exciting. Whether it’s a night out with friends this coming Friday or retiring to rural France years down the line. And if the word pension is a lonely figure in the street then retirement is a sun tanned chap in pastel shades. So if a pension makes the golden years even more golden, then what harm can it do?
And so I signed my name in the box, and got myself a piece of the future. In the mean time, I can concentrate on living my life, right now.
Like Rebecca, have you already signed for a pension? Let us know on Twitter, @stylistmagazine or in the comment section below.
Picture credit: Rex Features